It has been very interesting and challenging for me to adapt back to the consumeristic and materialistic Western world life after living in India for four months this year-where I survived (very happily) without a full length mirror to check out my ass, or good lighting for makeup (I wore none), where I was without the need to be fashionable because spirituality and self-realization are more important there, and relieved by the simplicity of the marketplace without ten different options for each thing I might need to buy. A place where high quality products are sold at a reasonable price because companies have not yet caught on to to our western trend of taking advantage of people. A place where relationships matter more than time and everywhere you look you are reminded that your previous ideas of the way life is and should be were not exactly spot on.
Recently when I was sharing my feelings of how I longed to be back in spiritual India with one of my teachers, Cherie Rae, she reminded me that our human souls were put here simply to learn to love and to be of service. Though this may seem very simplistic, it feels like absolute and beautiful and glistening truth to me. It is so easy to get caught in the hamster wheel of thought that we need more and don't have enough. We become so willing to buy whatever is thrown at us in our desperate attempt at filling the "void" and at solving this mystery that is contentment...when the answer is simple. Contentment (Santosha) does not come from the outside.
Deep satisfaction and contentment comes from our ability to be fully present, awake, and brutally truthful with ourselves (Satya). Truthfulness isn't as easy as it sounds. It takes a practice of ongoing and deep inquiry.
We can also find contentment by intentionally spreading joy and by the practice of karma yoga.
So instead of trying to satiate my desire for contentment by buying stuff I don't need but I think might make me happy (sometimes this manifests as a dirty chai from Starbucks in between clients, or the fake need for a plastic bottle of water I will drink and chunk into the already full landfills), I pledge to first ask myself first: how can I LOVE more, and how and where can I be of service. Chances are there is a better way to spend my energy.